Through many experiences, I have long believed that our imagination is greater than our willpower. Countless years ago, when I began my career in counseling, I was guiding a young woman who was experiencing a lack of meaningful relationships. During the process of learning more about her background, she mentioned that she was a tightrope walker in a well-known circus.
A tightrope walker is also acknowledged as a funambulist. “Ambulate,” comes from the Latin root meaning “to walk.” “Fun” comes from the Latin funds for “rope.”
I was curious about how she managed to keep her balance on an extremely narrow cord stretched high above the ground. She said that she used her imagination rather than her will power. She would imagine the cord being much wider allowing her to walk on it easily.
I asked her if she imagined the cord as wider than it was, why didn’t she step off the cord and fall? She said that believing it was wider gave her more balance and stability. When asked if it worked with the height of the tightrope, she said that it did. When she imagined the rope on the ground rather than high above it also encouraged confidence and balance.
I used her example of embracing imagination rather than willpower to support her with developing meaningful relationships.
When the therapy was successfully completed, I visited the circus and watched her performance. I did not miss the significance that her performance was without a safety net.